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How much does ACL reconstruction cost?


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I am considering ACL reconstructive surgery - what kind of cost do I have to expect. I live in the USA.


The answer to how much *you* will have to pay varies on many factors, in particular on whether you have health insurance and how much your insurance will cover.

In my case I was diganosed (from an MRI) that I had a torn ACL but my meniscus seemed ok according to the MRI.

During the surgery they found that the meniscus was partially torn (75% tear) and they stitched it.

Every service in this procedure is billed and paid separately:

- your doctor who orders the MRI
- the MRI
- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction
- the anesthesia
- the surgeon's assistant(!)
- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
- afterwards the physical therapy

The following numbers will be first what each instance was billed at, followed in () how much I actually paid. Note that my insurance negotiated in most cases on the billable amount, e.g. the facility was billed by the hospital at $2081 for those 4 hours, my insurance negotiated it down to $1600, the insurance paid $1440 and I paid $160.

- your doctor who orders the MRI
$700 ($260)

- the MRI
fully paid by insurance

- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair
$2500 ($250)

- the anesthesia
$2000 ($250)

- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
$2000 ($160)

- afterwards the physical therapy
$70 ($15) per visit, expect 16-24 visits = ~ $300 co-pay

I would say that the surgery is definitely worth it if you plan to live an active lifestyle. It sure depends also on at what stage in life you are. After the surgery make sure to get the leg *fully* straight right away or you are looking into several months of painful attempts to stretch a shortened muscle. (That's what happened to me, unfortunately.)

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2006-04-26, 09:01:37 from United States  
@anonymous in Norton, Kentucky:

So the total cost is
$31145 + $1551 + $152 + $2340 + $3330 + $1000 = $39518

Damn, that's a lot. I hope the surgery and physical therapy for your daughter will be more successful than mine. My surgery was good (I guess!) but today, 11 month later, I am not fully back. I went skiing this past winter - I did ok, but had to be more careful. The repaired knee is not as reliable.
Also, when I run longer than 5 minutes, it feels numb - not necessarily a bad thing, I just would like it to be the same as before the surgery. I mean, the same as before the accident :-)

-Peter (original author of this article)
2006-04-26, 19:45:01
anonymous from United States  
dr.ellis in louisville did my daughters surgery 1\16\06 last year she was kentucky 3 a shot put #2 with a throw of 36' 11' this weekend she threw a34'7' not bad 3 months after surgery. but 17 year olds recover faster I wish i could recover from the bill that fast . but I am very proud of what dr.Ellis has done for her.
ptiemann are wearing a good brace to protect your self I always worrie about my daughter even with her dj armor sure would hate to see all that good work undone.
2006-05-10, 14:42:06
anonymous from United States  
I had a lateral meniscus repair in 2000, and it cost $10,000 total (the surgeon also removed a ganglion cyst and pre-arthritic fibers, the latter of which we had not discussed, but he did it 'while he was in the neighborhood!', so the operation was probably closer to $5000, based on my bills). This did not include doctor's visits, xrays, MRIs, etc, etc, etc. My insurance covered about 80% of it. If I hadn't been insured (which is the current case with a possible ACL injury on the other knee!), the hospital would have charged me about $8,000 and allowed me to pay in monthly installments; likewise with the doctor, etc. The only post-op surprise was when the attending nurse told me to stand up barely 2 hours after the operation! The doctor had not told me about that, so, naturally, I was reluctant to do so! Then, she gave me a choice: Stand up or stay overnight! I chose the former, and was stunned that I was able to stand fully erect with a nearly straight leg and no pain whatsoever! After physical therapy and absolutely no strenuous exercise, I was back on the tennis court in just two months! I was very fortunate to have a great doctor/surgeon (same person), attending staff, and therapist; I'm told that getting all three is a rare trifecta! ; )
2006-05-22, 10:41:06
Anesthesiologist from United States  
The cost of ACL surgery is variable in the USA. It ranges from $10,000 - $40,000. There are three basic components to the cost. The facility (hospital vs outpatient surgery center) the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. The facility charges range from $4000 to $10,000 the surgeon's charge ranges from $2000 - $10,000. The anesthesiologist's charge is based on how long the procedure takes. If it takes 2 hours the average charge for anesthesia is $720. So if you need ACL surgery and you have to pay for it, shop around. You want an experienced, board certified sports orthopedic surgeon who can do the surgery in less than 2 hours and a efficient surgery facility. Most private surgery centers give discounts for cash customers. At our surgery center it is possible to have unomplicated ACL reconstruction for a total cost of less than $10,000. A $2000 bill from an anesthesiologist would reflect an ACL surgery that lasted 7 hours!
2006-06-05, 21:22:45 from Australia  
I have just done my ACL during a Australian Rules Football training session. I had a team mate only lightly slide into the side of my knee at the start of training. Not realising what happened i continued to train and didnt feel that anything was wrong with my knee till after training. I have now found out i have a ruptured my ACL and have been in for a MRI which cost $350 which insurance paid for and the operation is $2400 so im not happy that im missing a year of footy
2006-06-08, 18:31:44
anonymous from United States  
5 months later my daughter Jayme took third place in the kentucky state finals girls high school shot put AAA division she threw 36'7' just 4' short of her last years best throw. every thing seems to be going fine with her ACL I still believ Kentucky is the most expensive place in the world to have this surgery done.
2006-07-08, 11:01:52
anonymous from United States  
I'm barely a freshman in highskool and just had the ACL reconstruction surgery 2 weeks ago with a stitch in my lateral miniscus and a dented patella.... fortunately i have parents in the navy and had the surgery for free...i didnt realize how much it really costed but im grateful they're in the navy now. But cost or not the surgery i feel so far has definately been worth it ...i juss hope the recovery goes well... cuz i have a while 2 go
2006-07-12, 19:08:35
anonymous from Canada  
3 months ago, I torn my ACL playing soccer. I had an MRI done which confirmed the ACL tear. Specialist and Physiotherapy confirmed that I also tore the MCL and the medial meniscus. Being in Canada, I didn't have to worry about the cost but reading all the comments above, I can't believe the cost involved ...crazy!

Being a young active person, is ACL reconstruction surgery the best way to go? How is the recovery process, generally?
2006-07-22, 07:29:50 from United States  
I am fairly confident I have a tore ACL with possible meniscus tear. I am a pharmacy student (25 yrs old) and all I have is the insurance through the college. It provides only 5000 dollars of coverage total. I was wondering if anyone here could give some advice about helping to pay reconstruction. Being a PharrmD student I obvisously have no full time job and live only loan money.
Any advice would much appreciated.

2006-08-02, 17:03:53
anonymous from United States  
Our 24 year old son has torn his ACL and partial tear of MCL. He lives on his own. His salary is minimal and he has no insurance. Any help would be appreciated. We live in New York state.
2006-08-03, 17:33:19
anonymous from United States  
how much would it run for acl surgery in south carolina? And what good doctors can u refer me to?
2006-08-03, 17:34:44
anonymous from United States  
how much would life insurance cover for acl surgery?
2006-08-04, 07:32:31
anonymous from United States  
not a penny
2006-08-07, 00:27:17 from United States  
I live in Texas and I am waiting to have surgery done the doc wants more flexability and strength in my leg before he does it. I have a torn ACL, MCL and torn medial meniscus. I have to pay out of pocket before the motorcycle insurance will pay me. If anyone has had the surgery done in Brazoria County Texas or at UTMB Galveston could you let me know what the cost was?
2006-08-09, 18:39:51
anonymous from United States  
Has anyone had ACL surgery at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA?? Which doctor did you use and what was the total cost before insurance?? I'm more than likely going to have the surgery.
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